Hey it’s November 12th. That means Veteran’s Day holiday for all us public employees. And no better way to spend a spare Monday than playing games.
November 18th is also the annual Museum of Flight game day, so Dave and I agreed we needed an opportunity run our Wings Over Malta game through with friends who might cut us some slack. So we put the word out we wanted to run a game at The Game Matrix and crossed our fingers for players.
The premise of the game was pretty straightforward. Nine Br. 20 bombers, escorted by four Me. 110s would be intercepted by six Hurrican IIc’s. Dave was interested to see how the heavier German fighters would perform against the cannon armed Brits. We figured we needed five Axis players and three British players. We also figured we could run the bombers on auto-pilot if we had fewer players.
Danged if we didn’t have eight takers. More actually, but we filled the game. Dean, Jim and Scott A. took the bombers. Scott M. and Gene ran the Messerschmidts. They were intercepted by Dave, Al and Gary flying for the RAF.
We laid out the Valetta map and marked three target sites for the bombers. They could hit one or all of them. The Hurricanes would approach from the west and we’d see how it worked out.
View of Axis entering the board from the view of intercepting Hurricane Mk IIc’s.
The Italians split into two groups with six bombers heading up the east or right side of the board, while three headed west for the important dry dock. The escorts searched for targets while the Hurricanes turned their attention to the Cicognas. The bombers immediately came under largely ineffective AA fire, but seemed to trundle along.
Another view of Axis entering the south board edge.
Scott A’s came under immediate fire from Dave’s Hurricanes, as he made a head-on pass, plugging one bomber with some cannon rounds, but receiving an unlikely critical hit from bomber defensive fire, putting one of his planes temporarily out of action. Al’s interceptors overshot the bombers, and would take some time get back in the action.
In the middle of the table Gene’s Me 110’s and Gary’s failed special maneuver left the other Hurricane’s badly out of position and running for his life. As Dave’s veteran pilot flew through Scott’s bombers and line up Jim’s Cicogna’s perfectly, he was blown out of the sky by Scott M’s Me 110’s. No parachute was seen to open.
With no opposition left to face them, Dean and Jim choogled on toward their target, with only occasional bursts of flak to annoy them.
On the left (west) side of the table Al’s Hurricanes slowly overtook Scott’s bombers as they reached the drydock. He poured sustained bursts into the two trailing bombers, damaging their bomb releases and holing their fuel tanks. The lead plane, damaged previously by Dave, dropped his bombs, doing slight damage to the dry dock and saving the British from catastrophe. Out of ammunition, Al’s planes returned to Hal Far.
Al’s Hurricanes pour cannon fire into Scott A’s BR 20’s. His attack forced the trailing bombers to leave with their bombloads and streaming fuel.
With Gary’s Hurricanes and the Messerschmidt escorts badly out of position, the remaining bombers flew on. But not scot-free. Dave’s remaining fighter eventually caught up to Jim’s bombers. He shot up the trailer and forced him to jettison his bomb-load. The remaining five however scored four hits on their target, inflicting heavy damage on the warehouses and their stores, earning the Axis a minor victory.
Despite a ferocious attack by Dave’s remaining Hurricane, Dean and Jim’s bombers close on their target.
The score was one British Hurricane shot down, with two BR 20’s unable to return to Sicily and other two other bombers damaged. We learned a lot from the game. The Me 110’s can be nasty, but they maneuver poorly. The Hurricane IIc’s were a revelation compared to the eight-gun fighters used in previous games. However, they are very ammunition restricted. Despite getting a lot of hits, they never destroyed an Italian plane.
The game was played on my Valetta mat, by Tinymats. The planes were a mix Scotia, Heroics and Ros, MSD and an unidentifiable manufacturer. Rules were Airwar 1940 by David Manley.